love quotes
November 9, 2008 3:36 PM   Subscribe

What are your quotes, literary passages, aphorisms, lyrics, stanzas, etc. about love?
posted by shotgunbooty to Writing & Language (52 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite

Do they have to be happy thoughts about love? Because the first things I thought of were these:

Love stinks.

Love is a battlefield.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:49 PM on November 9, 2008

Exact definition, paraphrased from Robert A. Heinlein: Love is that condition in which your own happiness becomes less important to you than the happiness of another.
posted by JimN2TAW at 3:53 PM on November 9, 2008

"For love is stronger than death, it burns more fiercely than any flame and is more jealous than the grave" or something like that....
posted by jadepearl at 4:05 PM on November 9, 2008

"Absence diminishes small loves and increases great ones, as the wind blows out the candle and fans the bonfire." François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

That's always been a favorite of mine, although I make no claims as to whether it is properly attributed or not.
posted by friendlyjuan at 4:19 PM on November 9, 2008 [5 favorites]

"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come." - Matt Groening
posted by Lucinda at 4:22 PM on November 9, 2008 [9 favorites]

I always liked: if you love something give it away, it was in a bright eyes song but im not sure if its originally his.
posted by chelegonian at 4:26 PM on November 9, 2008

"Whoever loves, that loves not at first sight?"

Shakespeare, As You Like It, if I'm not mistaken (Although it might be AWTEW. For some reason I always get those two mixed up)
posted by nax at 4:27 PM on November 9, 2008

Here's one of my favorites.

These things are beautiful beyond belief:
The pleasant weakness that comes after pain,
The radiant greenness that comes after rain,
The deepened faith that follows after grief,
And the awakening to love again.
-Author unknown
posted by velvet winter at 4:28 PM on November 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

Whats the reason for this question? Just out off interest, do you have the bug?
posted by chelegonian at 4:30 PM on November 9, 2008

I feel like no one says it better than Stephen Merritt:

Love is like a bottle of gin, but a bottle of gin is not like love.

(click through for the full lyrics)
posted by MsMolly at 4:34 PM on November 9, 2008

"My love does not, cannot make her happy. My love can only release in her the capacity to be happy."

Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters.

One of my all time favourite books. Great question.
posted by arcticseal at 4:44 PM on November 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her;
if you can bounce high, bounce for her too,
Till she cry "Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover,
I must have you!"

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald writing as Thomas Parke D'Invilliers, "The Great Gatsby"

If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

-- William Shakespeare, "Twelfth Night"

My bounty is as deep as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

-- William Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet"

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

-- William Shakespeare

Who long'st, like me, to see thy lord; who long'st,--
let me bate,-but not like me--yet long'st,
But in a fainter kind:--O, not like me;
For mine's beyond beyond

-- William Shakespeare, "Cymbeline"
posted by grumblebee at 4:51 PM on November 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


We are two trunks ignited by lightning
Two flames in the midnight forest;
We are two meteors flying in the night,
The double-stinging arrow of a single fate!

We are two horses whose reins are held
By the same hand, - bitten by one spur;
We are two eyes of a single gaze,
Two trembling wings of one dream.

We are a pair of shadows grieving
Over the holy marble grave,
Where ancient Beauty slumbers.

The two-voiced mouth of secrets shared,
We two make a single Sphinx.
The two arms of a single cross.

V. I. Ivanov
posted by CautionToTheWind at 5:06 PM on November 9, 2008

When at last you give yourself,
Shivering and sighing,
And he swears his passion is
Infinite, undying --
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.


The sun's gone dim and
The moon's turned black;
For I loved him, and
He didn't love back.

-- Dorothy Parker

Love makes asses of us all.

-- Shakespeare
posted by Countess Elena at 5:17 PM on November 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

For now I'm seeing love like none I've ever known.
A love as pure as breath, as permanent as death.
Implacable as stone.
A love that, like a knife,
Has cut into a life
I wanted left alone.

-- Stephen Sondheim, "Passion"
posted by grumblebee at 6:32 PM on November 9, 2008

He loved Big Brother.

-- George Orwell, "1984"
posted by grumblebee at 6:33 PM on November 9, 2008

He knelt by the bed and bent over her, draining their last moment to its lees; and in the silence there passed between them the word which made all clear.

-- Edith Wharton, "House of Mirth"
posted by grumblebee at 6:36 PM on November 9, 2008

Fuck Coltrane and music and clouds drifting in the sky
fuck the sea and trees and the sky and birds
and alligators and all the animals that roam the earth
fuck marx and mao fuck fidel and nkrumah and
democracy and communism fuck smack and pot
and red ripe tomatoes fuck joseph fuck mary fuck
god jesus and all the disciples fuck fanon nixon
and malcolm fuck the revolution fuck freedom fuck
the whole muthafucking thing
all i want now is my woman back
so my soul can sing

Etheridge Knight
posted by steef at 6:42 PM on November 9, 2008 [7 favorites]

JERRY. Look at the way you're looking at me. I can't wait for you, I'm bowled over. I'm totally knocked out, you dazzle me, you jewel, my jewel, I can't ever sleep again, no, listen, it's the truth, I won't walk, I'll be a cripple, I'll descend, I'll diminish, into total paralysis, my life is in your hands, that's what you're banishing me to, a state of catatonia, do you know the state of catatonia? do you? do you? the state of ... where the reigning prince is the prince of emptiness, the prince of absence, the prince of desolation. I love you.

EMMA. My husband is at the other side of the door.

JERRY. Everyone knows. The world knows. It knows. But they'll never know, they'll never know, they're in a different world. I adore you. I'm madly in love with you. I can't believe that what anyone is at this moment saying has ever happened has ever happened. Nothing has ever happened. Nothing. This is the only thing that has ever happened. Your eyes kill me. I'm lost. You're wonderful.

-- Harold Pinter, "Betrayal"
posted by grumblebee at 6:53 PM on November 9, 2008

Not sure if its the type of quote you're looking for, but I like :

"What is done out of love always happens beyond good and evil."
Friedrich Nietzsche
Beyond Good and Evil #153
posted by domi_p at 6:58 PM on November 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

Oh, my God. I love Josh. I am majorly, totally, butt-crazy in love with Josh.

-- "Clueless"
posted by grumblebee at 7:05 PM on November 9, 2008

What is love? 'tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty;
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth's a stuff will not endure.

-- Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

While we may the sports of love.
Time will not be ours for ever;
He, at length, our time will sever.
Spend not, then, his giftes in vaine;
Sunnes that set, may rise againe
But if once, we loose this light
‘Tis, with us, perpetuall night.
Why should we deferre our joyes?
Fame and rumour are but toyes.
Cannot we delude the eyes
Of a few pore household spyes?
Or his easier eyes beguile
So removed by our wile?
‘Tis no sinne, love’s fruite to steale,
But the sweet theft to reveale:
To be taken, to be seene,
These have crimes accounted beene.
(tr. Ben Jonson)

She deserves
More Worlds than I can lose.
~John Dryden, All For Love

Love all the people you can. The sufferings of love are not to be compared to the sorrows of loneliness.
~Susan Hale

Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

The summer hath his joys
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.
-- Thomas Campion, Now Winter Nights Enlarge

Brotherly love for brotherly love, but cheese for money.
- Albanian proverb
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:07 PM on November 9, 2008

Falling in love is the ultimate act of revolution, of resistance to today's tedious, socially restrictive, culturally constrictive, humanly meaningless world.

Love transforms the world. Where the lover formerly felt boredom, he now feels passion. Where she once was complacent, she now is excited and compelled to self-asserting action. The world which once seemed empty and tiresome becomes filled with meaning, filled with risks and rewards, with majesty and danger. Life for the lover is a gift, an adventure with the highest possible stakes; every moment is memorable, heartbreaking in its fleeting beauty. When he falls in love, a man who once felt disoriented, alienated, and confused will know exactly what he wants. Suddenly his existence will make sense to him; suddenly it becomes valuable, even glorious and noble, to him. Burning passion is an antidote that will cure the worst cases of despair and resigned obedience.

from here
posted by streetdreams at 7:08 PM on November 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'm one of those people who is forever collecting quotes, so here's a sampling...

"It was the first time I was in love, and I learned a lot - before that, I never even thought about killing myself." --Steven Wright

"This love intrigues me. Teach me to fake it!" --Zoidberg, "Futurama"

"Everybody loves their children, doesn't make you special. John Wayne Gacy loved his children - kept them right out in the yard, near the garage." --George Carlin, "You Are All Diseased!"

"Love is a word that is constantly heard,
Hate is a word that is not.
Love, I am told, is more precious than gold.
Love, I have read, is hot.
But hate is the verb that to me is superb,
And Love but a drug on the mart.
Any kiddie in school can love like a fool,
But Hating, my boy, is an Art." --Ogden Nash

"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, / Nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned." --William Congreve

"When I'm 130 years old, I want a pill that makes me so happy and so unself-conscious and so randy I'm willing to make love to my fuzzy bed-slippers on my front lawn and yodel at the same time. And I want it to last all night." --Scott Adams
posted by namewithoutwords at 7:10 PM on November 9, 2008

And, linked rather than posted, because it is the same length as all of my lines above combined, Auden's dizzying, whimsical Tell Me The Truth About Love.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:13 PM on November 9, 2008

oh, and nthing all the shakespeare, but especially Sonnet 130,
"And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare."
posted by namewithoutwords at 7:15 PM on November 9, 2008

"This concept of 'wuv' confuses and infuriates us!" --Futurama
posted by casarkos at 8:20 PM on November 9, 2008

my collection here.

"Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come."
-- Matt Groening, "Life in Hell"
posted by mmoncur at 8:42 PM on November 9, 2008

Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
--- Catullus 85

Translation: "I hate and I love. Perhaps you ask why I do so.
I do not know, but I feel it, and am tortured.
posted by wherever, whatever at 8:59 PM on November 9, 2008

The hardest-learned lesson: that people have only their kind of love to give, not our kind.

- Mignon McLaughlin, journalist and author (1913-1983)
posted by Bobby Bittman at 9:04 PM on November 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
--James Baldwin

Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can. All of them make me laugh.
---W.H. Auden

Love is like pi - natural, irrational, and very important.
---Lisa Hoffman

I'm in love with a girl who's in love with the world, so I can't help but follow.
---Amos Lee

The world is wonderful and beautiful and good beyond one's wildest imagination. Never, never, never could one conceive what love is, beforehand, never.
----D. H. Lawrence

Love is a game of Calvinball.
---Alan Jaffray

Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so.
---David Grayson

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I do not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
---Pablo Neruda

"Why? Why do you love him when you ought not to?"
"Why? Because his hair is brown and grows away from his temples; because he opens and shuts his eyes, and his nose is a little out of drawing; because he has two lips and a square chin, and a little finger which he can't straighten from heaving baseball too energetically in his youth. Because---"
"Because you do, in short."
---Kate Chopin, The Awakening

Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.
---Iris Murdoch

It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.
---Agatha Christie

Let us hope that we are preceded in this world by a love story.
--Of Time and Memory

I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self-respect, and it's these things I'd believe in even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn't all she should be. I loved her and that's the beginning of everything.
---F. Scott Fitzgerald

And an E. E. Cummings poem.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:09 PM on November 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

Constance. – Everywhere bourgeois society insists on the exertion of the will; only love is supposed to be involuntary, the pure immediacy of the feelings. In the longing for this, which means the dispensation from labor, the bourgeois idea of love transcends bourgeois society. However by unmediatedly putting up what is true as what is universally untrue, it inverts the former into the latter. It is not merely that pure feelings, as far as they are still possible in the economically determined system, socially turn thereby into the alibi for the domination of interest and testifies to a humanity, which does not exist. But rather the involuntariness of love itself, even where it is not arranged quite practically in advance, contributes to that whole, as soon as it establishes itself as a principle. If love is supposed to portray in society a better one, then it is capable of doing so not as a peaceful enclave, but only in conscious resistance. That however requires just that moment of caprice, which the bourgeois, to who love can never be natural enough, forbids it. Love means the capacity to not allow immediacy to wither from the ubiquitous pressure of mediation, of the economy, and in such fidelity it is mediated in itself, as tenacious counter-pressure. Those who love are only those who have the energy to hold fast to love. If social advantage, sublimated, still preforms the sexual drive-impulse, causes, through a thousand shadings of what is confirmed by the social order, now this person and now that one to appear spontaneously attractive, then the attraction which has once taken root contradicts this, by persisting where the gravity of society, above all in the intrigue which is regularly taken into society’s service, does not wish it to be. The test of the feelings is whether they endure beyond the feeling through duration, even if it were only obsession. The kind which, under the appearance [Schein] of unreflective spontaneity and proud of its presumed uprightness, rely completely and utterly on what it considers to be the voice of the heart, and runs away, as soon as it no longer thinks it perceives those voices, is in such sovereign independence precisely the tool of society. Passively, without knowing it, it registers the numbers, which roll out of the roulette wheel of their interests. By betraying the beloved, it betrays itself. The command of fidelity, which society legislates, is the means of unfreedom, but only through fidelity does freedom realize its insubordination against the command of society.
- Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia, aphorism 110
posted by nasreddin at 9:33 PM on November 9, 2008

My friend Matt says:

"Failing in love can only follow falling in love, neither of which I would trade for the other any more than I would forget that the strength of ones love is married to the vulnerability of ones heart. And therein is the salve that will put my mind at ease, to know that there was neither a failing of thought, nor foresight, nor feeling, but rather a success of life."

That quote has carried me through some times.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:50 PM on November 9, 2008

"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."

--Dr. Seuss.

Marry me a little,
Love me just enough.
Warm and sweet and easy,
Just the simple stuff.
Keep a tender distance
So we'll both be free.
That's the way it ought to be.
I'm ready!

Marry me a little,
Body, heart, and soul.
Passionate as hell
But always in control.
Want me first and foremost,
Keep me company.
That's the way it ought to be.
I'm ready!
I'm ready now! "
-- Stephen Sondheim "Marry Me A Little," from Company

"We accept the love we think we deserve"
--Stephen Chbosky, in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
posted by coppermoss at 10:18 PM on November 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

I have journals upon journals with this stuff, but here are some of my favorites:

"The minute I heard my first love story
I started searching for you, not knowing
How blind I was.

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere
They're in each other all along."

"For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.
It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul."
-Judy Garland (supposedly)

"Love is not consolation. It is light."

"And think not you can direct the couse of love; for love, if it find you worthy, directs your course."
-Khalil Gibran

"Real love is always fated. It has been arranged before time. It is the most meticulously prepared of coincidences. And fate, of course, is simply a secular term for the will of God, and coincidence for his Grace."
-Joshua Harris

"Intimacy. . . is making one's innermost known, sharing one's core, one's truth, one's heart, with another, and accepting, tolerating the core, the truth of another. It is being able to tell both the good and the bad parts of oneself, to tell of anger, ambivalence, love; and to accept both the good and the bad parts of another, to accept anger, ambivalence, love. It is to share the self: one's excitements, longings, fears and neediness, and hear these in another."
-Jude Cassidy

"What did my hands do before they held you?"
-Sylvia Plath
posted by messylissa at 11:02 PM on November 9, 2008 [4 favorites]

if you want to
destroy this sweater
hold this thread
as I walk away

watch me unravel
I'll soon be naked
lying on the floor
I've come undone

"The Sweater Song", Weezer
posted by Lukenlogs at 11:49 PM on November 9, 2008

"...George who is out somewhere in the dark... George who is good to me, and whom I revile; who understands me, and whom I push off; who can make me laugh, and I choke it back in my throat; who can hold me, at night, so that it's warm, and whom I will bite so there's blood; who keeps learning the games we play as quickly as I can change the rules; who can make me happy and I do not wish to be happy, and yes I do wish to be happy. George and Martha: sad, sad, sad.

...whom I will not forgive for having come to rest; for having seen me and having said: yes, this will do; who has made the hideous, the hurting, the insulting mistake of loving me and must be punished for it. George and Martha: sad, sad, sad."
--Edward Albee, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
posted by prior at 11:55 PM on November 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

Found a couple more:

"All our young lives we search for someone to love. Someone who makes us complete. We choose partners & change partners. We dance to a song of heartbreak & hope. All the while wondering if somewhere, somehow, there's someone perfect who might be searching for us".
-Narrator in The Wonder Years (1988)

"Love is just an abbreviation for everything
we have ever wanted to say about that one person
who truly means something to us,
all wrapped up in a tiny four-letter box."

"There are things you do because they feel right and they may make no sense and they may make no money and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other and to eat each other's cooking and say it was good."
-Brian Andreas

"For what is the beloved? She is that which I myself am not. In the act of love, I am pure male, and she is pure female. She is she, and I am I, and clasped together with her, I know how perfectly she is not me, how perfectly I am not her, how utterly we are two, the light and the darkness, and how infinitely and eternally, not-to-be-comprehended by either of us is the surpassing One we make."
-DH Lawrence
posted by messylissa at 12:54 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow's dust flares into breath.

~Mark Strand
posted by faineant at 3:04 AM on November 10, 2008

Man's love is of man's life a part; it is a woman's whole existence.
In her first passion, a woman loves her lover, in all the others all she loves is love.
posted by TheRaven at 4:39 AM on November 10, 2008

A lot of my faves are here... here are a few that arent

"when you're on the street, and, as you're walking along, a woman turns the corner going away from you, and for an instant you have a glimpse of the side of her face, of the gesture of her shoulder, the shape of her body, and you are committed... You are in love for an instant, or your senses are rocked for an instant. That person then disappears and is lost to you forever..."- Joel Meyerowitz

"A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave." -Mahatma Gandhi

"A slight touch of friendly malice and amusement towards those we love keeps our affections for them from turning flat." -Logan P. Smith, essayist

"A woman in love will do almost anything for a man, except give up the desire to improve him." - Nathaniel Branden

"Accept that all of us can be hurt, that all of us can - and surely will at times - fail. Other vulnerabilities like being embarrassed or risking love, can be terrifying too. I think we should follow a simple rule: if we can take the worst, take the risk." -Dr. Joyce Brothers

"After another moment's silence, she mumbled that I was peculiar, that that was probably why she loved me but that one day I might disgust her for the very same reason." -Albert Camus

"All love that has not friendship for its base, Is like a mansion built upon the sand." -Ella Wheeler Wilcox, poet

"And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation." -Kahlil Gibran

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." -Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:13

"Anxiety is love's greatest killer. It makes one feel as you might when a drowning person holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you in his panic." -Anais Nin

"Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly." -Rose Franken

"Being in love doesn't mean loving. You can be in love with a woman and yet hate her." -Dostoevsky

"Discovering that one is loved in return really ought to disenchant the lover with the beloved. 'What? this person is modest enough to love even you? Or stupid enough? Or-or-'" -Friederich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

"Don't let yourself get so angry that you stop loving, because one day you'll wake up from that anger and the person you love will be gone." -Katie Holmes as Joey, Dawsons Creek

"For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"'Gimme hate, Lord,' he whimpered. 'I'll take hate any day. But don't give me love, Lord. I can't carry it...It's too heavy.'" -Toni Morrison, "Song of Solomon"

"Have you even been in love? Horrible, isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They don't ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you, or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so a simple phrase like "maybe we should just be friends" or "how very perceptive" turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love." -Neil Gaiman, Sandman: The Kindly Ones

"How can she say she's lost without him? He's not a compass - he never was; How can she say life has no meaning? Life meant something before he came along- it still does; How can she say he stole her heart? You can't steal what is given away; Love Isn't blind, but sometimes it's shortsighted And if you're not careful, you can lose your way." -Christine Lavin

"I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out." -Elizabeth Barrett Browning
"I loved you; even now I may confess, Some embers of my love their fire retain; But do not let it cause you more distress, I do not want to sadden you again. Hopeless and tonguetied, yet I loved you dearly With pangs the jealous and the timid know; So tenderly I loved you, so sincerely, I pray God grant another love you so." - Alexander Pushkin

"I really do have love to give; I just don't know where to put it." -William H. Macy, Magnolia

"If it is your time love will track you down like a cruise missile. If you say "No! I don't want it right now," that's when you'll get it for sure. Love will make a way out of no way. Love is an exploding cigar which we willingly smoke." -Lynda Barry

"If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question?" -Lily Tomlin

"If we discovered that we had only five minutes left to say all that we wanted to say, every telephone booth would be occupied by people calling other people to stammer that they loved them." -Christopher Morley

"If you want someone to love you, open your heart. If you want someone to be obsessed with you, close it. --Jim Profit, Profit

"It has gotten to the point where if I had to choose between falling in love and reading a book about falling in love...I'd choose the book." - Nikos Kazananski

"It's what we all wanted when we were children- to be loved and accepted exactly as we were then, not when we got taller or thinner or prettier...and we still want it... but we aren't going to get it from other people until we can get it from ourselves." -Louise Hay

"Love doesn't make the world go 'round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile." -Franklin P. Jones

"Love has no other desire but to fulfull itself. To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving." -Kahlil Gibran

"Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell." -Joan Crawford

"Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition." -Alexander Smith

"Love is friendship set on fire." -Jeremy Taylor

"Love is funny that way. Kind of like a cat, really. It'll ignore your best efforts to coax and cajole it, then jump straight in your lap the moment you try to do anything non-cat-related." -Cindy Ketterling

"Love is like pi - natural, irrational, and very important." -Lisa Hoffman

"Love is like a snowmobile racing through the tundra. Then it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the snow weasels come." -Matt Groening

"Love is like an hourglass with the heart filling up as the brain empties." -Jules Renard

"Love is passion. Obsession. Someone you can't live without. Someone you fall head over heels for. Find someone you can love like crazy, and will love you the same way back. Listen to your heart. No sense in life without this. To make the journey without falling deeply in love, you haven't lived a life at all. You have to try, because if you haven't tried, then you haven't lived." -Anthony Hopkins as William Parrish, Meet Joe Black

"Love is so short, and forgetting takes so long." -Pablo Neruda

"Love is when you lust for what's inside. Love is friendship that has caught fire." -Ann Landers

"Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so a simple phrase like 'maybe we should just be friends' or 'how very perceptive' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart." -Neil Gaiman

"Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within." -James Baldwin

"Man always wants to be a woman's first love - Women like to be a man's last romance." -Oscar Wilde

"One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry." -Oscar Wilde

"That's the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they're not much to look at, or even if they're sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know *where* the hell you are." -J.D. Salinger

"The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved - loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves." -Victor Hugo

"The love of beginnings and of passion, gradually replaced by the steady knowing that another wants to be by your side year in, year out, come what may... the love that you feel when holding your baby in your arms, nuzzling her hair, kissing his neck, knowing it all turned out right when she grows up, when he's taller than you, and being with them all gives you incredible joy... the love for the sweet, soft cats who fill your house and your arms when the nest is empty and your heart is heavy. Love is all of that, and more..." --Sandra Feroe

"The love you seek is seeking you at this very moment." ~Deepak Chopra

"The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end." -Benjamin Disraeli

"The most wonderful of all things in life, I believe, is the discovery of another human being with whom one's relationship has a glowing depth, beauty, and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing, it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of Divine accident." -Sir Hugh Walpole

"The time between meeting and finally leaving is sometimes called falling in love." --Lisa Loeb, "Falling in Love"

"To love and win is the best thing. To love and to lose, the next best." -William M. Thackeray

"To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But the one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer, to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness." -Woody Allen

"Trouble is part of your life - if you don't share it, you don't give the person who loves you a chance to love you enough." -Dinah Shore

"What I needed most was to love and to be loved, eager to be caught. Happily I wrapped those painful bonds around me; and sure enough, I would be lashed with the red-hot pokers or jealousy, by suspicions and fear, by burst of anger and quarrels." -St. Augustine

"When we hold each other, in the darkness, it doesn't make the darkness go away. The bad things are still out there. The nightmares still walking. When we hold each other we feel not safe, but better.'It's all right' we whisper, 'I'm here, I love you.' and we lie: 'I'll never leave you.' For just a moment or two the darkness doesn't seem so bad." -Neil Gaiman, "Hold Me"

"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. you yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection." -Buddha
posted by softlord at 5:37 AM on November 10, 2008 [6 favorites]

Love Inside The Studfarm

Oh, I may as well post one of my very favourite poems, then.

To his lost lover by Simon Armitage
Now they are no longer
any trouble to each other

he can turn things over, get down to that list
of things that never happened, all of the lost

unfinishable business.
For instance… for instance,

how he never clipped and kept her hair, or drew a hairbrush
through that style of hers, and never knew how not to blush

at the fall of her name in close company.
How they never slept like buried cutlery –

two spoons or forks cupped perfectly together,
or made the most of some heavy weather –

walked out into hard rain under sheet lightning,
or did the gears while the other was driving.

How he never raised his fingertips
to stop the segments of her lips

from breaking the news,
or tasted the fruit

or picked for himself the pear of her heart,
or lifted her hand to where his own heart

was a small, dark, terrified bird
in her grip. Where it hurt.

Or said the right thing,
or put it in writing.

And never fled the black mile back to his house
before midnight, or coaxed another button of her blouse,

then another,
or knew her

favourite colour,
her taste, her flavour,

and never ran a bath or held a towel for her,
or soft-soaped her, or whipped her hair

into an ice-cream cornet or a beehive
of lather, or acted out of turn, or misbehaved

when he might have, or worked a comb
where no comb had been, or walked back home

through a black mile hugging a punctured heart,
where it hurt, where it hurt, or helped her hand

to his butterfly heart
in its two blue halves.

And never almost cried,
and never once described

an attack of the heart,
or under a silk shirt

nursed in his hand her breast,
her left, like a tear of flesh

wept by the heart,
where it hurts,

or brushed with his thumb the nut of her nipple,
or drank intoxicating liquors from her navel.

Or christened the Pole Star in her name,
or shielded the mask of her face like a flame,

a pilot light,
or stayed the night,

or steered her back to that house of his,
or said “Don’t ask me how it is

I like you.
I just might do.”

How he never figured out a fireproof plan,
or unravelled her hand, as if her hand

were a solid ball
of silver foil

and discovered a lifeline hiding inside it,
and measured the trace of his own alongside it.

But said some things and never meant them –
sweet nothings anybody could have mentioned.

And left unsaid some things he should have spoken,
about the heart, where it hurt exactly, and how often.
posted by mippy at 6:04 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]

"Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words 'make' and 'stay' become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free." -Tom Robbins

“Ultimately, cynicism is the great mask of the disappointed and betrayed heart.” -bell hooks

Love is "the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth. Love is as love does. Love is an act of will-namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love." -M. Scott Peck
posted by lunit at 6:53 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Anactoria poem by Sappho; Break of Day by John Donne; They Flee from Me, by Thomas Wyatt; The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, by Christopher Marlowe; Come Down, O Maid by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

What Do Women Want? by Kim Addonizio; The Truth the Dead Know, by Anne Sexton; One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop; Atlantis by Eavan Boland; Carnal Knowledge, by Thom Gunn; Lullaby, by W.H. Auden
posted by woodway at 7:06 AM on November 10, 2008

"Thousands have lived without love; not one without water." — W. H. Auden. (I can't decide if that says more about love or about water, though.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:36 AM on November 10, 2008

First, a few of my faves (looks like softlord's been sorting through my books, but I'll try not to repeat:

Hang up philosophy!
Useless philosophy can make a Juliet.

– Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 3 (this is my favorite. i'm pretty cynical on love, i guess that's why i don't have comparably as many quotes on the topic.)

Love is a fire. Whether it will warm your heart or burn down your house, you can never tell.

We like because, we love although.

You cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.

A life with love will have some thorns, but a life without love will have no roses.

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved -- loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.
-- Victor Hugo

Sleep is still most perfect, in spite of hygienists, when it is shared with a beloved. The warmth, the security and peace of soul, the utter comfort from the touch of the other, knits the sleep, so that it takes the body and soul completely in its healing. -- D.H. Lawrence

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.
-- Albert Einstein

To fear love is to fear life itself, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
-- Bertrand Russell

Thomas Jefferson was so convicted that the pursuit of happiness was an inalienable human right that he wrote it into the Declaration of Independence and called it a self-evident truth. But Christians have this to add: those who pursue happiness never find it. Because joy and peace are extremely elusive, happiness is a will-o'-the-wisp, a phantom, and even if we reach out our hand to grasp it, it vanishes into thin air. God gives joy and peace not to those who pursue them but to those who pursue Him and strive to love. Joy and peace are found in loving and nowhere else. -- John Stott

Me falta tiempo para celebrar tus cabellos. Uno por uno debo contarlos y alabarlos; otros amantes quieren vivir con ciertos ojos, yo solo quiero ser tu peluquero. (I don't have time enough to praise your hair. One by one I should detail your hairs and praise them. Other lovers want to live with particular eyes; I only want to be your stylist.)
-- Pablo Neruda

The way to love anything is to realize it might be lost.
-- G.K. Chesterton

The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how much they love them while they're still alive.
-- O. A. Battista

Death, and its ever-present possibility makes love, passionate love, more possible. I wonder if we could love passionately, if ecstasy would be possible at all, if we knew we'd never die. --Dr. Abraham Maslow

You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip.
-- Jonathon Carroll

The most difficult thing - but an essential one - is to love life, to love it even while one suffers, because life is all. Life is God, and to love life means to love God. – Leo Tolstoy

Secondly, I'm a Christian, so I believe that true love comes from God, and we can't really truly love other people until we understand how He first loved us. So, the following are more about that love than they are about romantic inter-human love. Perhaps they won't be of much use to you but they certainly are to me.

God is love. That is why he suffers. To love our suffering sinful world is to suffer. God so suffered for the world that he gave up his only Son to suffering. The one who does not see God’s suffering does not see his love.

So suffering is down at the center of things, deep down where the meaning is. Suffering is the meaning of our world. For Love is the meaning. And Love suffers. The tears of God are the meaning of history.
– Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son

We might have learned, even from the poets, that Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness. Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering. If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. He has often rebuked us and condemned us but he has never regarded us with contempt. He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us. We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art. Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child an artist may not take much trouble. But over the [magnum opus] of his life—the work which he loves—he will take endless trouble—and would, doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way it is natural for us to wish that God had designed us for a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less. You asked for a loving God; you have one. Not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way…but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as an artist’s love for his work. It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring. We should not ask that God’s love should reconcile itself to our present impurities—not more than the beggar maid could wish that the King should be content with her rags and dirt. What we would here and now call our ‘happiness’ is not in the end God chiefly has in view: but when we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall [finally] be happy. – C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

But what do I love, when I love Thee? Not beauty of bodies, nor the fair harmony of time, nor the brightness of the light, so gladsome to our eyes, nor sweet melodies of varied songs, nor the fragrant smell of flowers, and ointments, and spices, not manna and honey, not limbs acceptable to embracements of flesh. None of these I love, when I love my God; and yet I love a kind of light, and melody, and fragrance, and meat, and embracement when I love my God, the light, melody, fragrance, meat, embracement of my inner man: where there shineth unto my soul what space cannot contain, and there soundeth what time beareth not away, and there smelleth what breathing disperseth not, and there tasteth what eating diminisheth not, and there clingeth what satiety divorceth not. This is it which I love when I love my God. – Augustine, Confessions, chapter 6

It would be quite wrong to think that the way to become charitable is to sit trying to manufacture affectionate feelings. The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering about whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. Ask yourself, “If I were sure that I loved this person, what would I do?” When you have found the answer, go and do it. – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

In a circle of true Friends each man is simply what he is: stands for nothing but himself. No one cares two pence about any one else’s family, profession, class, income, race, or previous history. Of course you will get to know about most of these in the end. But casually. They will come out bit by bit, to furnish an illustration or an analogy, to serve as pegs for an anecdote; never for their own sake. That is the kingliness of Friendship. We meet like sovereign prices of independent states, abroad, on neutral ground, freed from our contexts. This love (essentially) ignores not only our physical bodies but that whole embodiment which consists of our family, job, past and connection. At home, besides being Peter or Jane, we also bear a general character; husband or wife, brother or sister, chief, colleague or subordinate. Not among our Friends. It is an affair of disentangled, or stripped, minds. Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.

Hence (if you will not misunderstand me) the exquisite arbitrariness and irresponsibility of this love. I have no duty to be anyone’s Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. NO claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.
– C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (A book rife with quotes on all the types of loves)

Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – Jesus Christ

The Spirit of God first imparts love; he next inspires hope, and then gives liberty and that is about the last thing we have in many of our churches. – D.L. Moody

Always be sure that you struggle with Christian methods and Christian weapons. Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. In your struggle for justice, let your oppressor know that you are not attempting to defeat or humiliate him, or even to pay him back for injustices that he has heaped upon you. Let him know that you are merely seeking justice for him as well as yourself. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:51 AM on November 10, 2008

Take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with the night.

-Romeo and Juliet
posted by triggerfinger at 10:27 AM on November 10, 2008

“Harry, we have to love each other,” she said. “We'll just have to love each other,” she said.

This is from Raymond Carver's "will you please be quiet, please?" and it's a great closing line for the short story.

My favorite verse about love is:

I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

Quiero hacer contigo
lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos.

Pablo Neruda (Poema XIV)

It's pitch perfect. I also third the Cummings poems and both Mefites wrote E.E. with capital letters. I'm swooning.
posted by ersatz at 6:24 PM on November 10, 2008 [5 favorites]

'Love at first sight,' some say, misnaming
Discovery of twinned helplessness
Against the huge tug of procreation.
But friendship at first sight? This also
Catches fiercely at the surprised heart
So that the cheek blanches and then blushes.

-- Robert Graves, "At First Sight"
posted by nemutdero at 4:46 PM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

oh belated as usual but my sort of favorite quote on love is by Storm Large (musician)

"What is love if cops don't come? If you've never broken into my house or threatened my pets, you don't love me! 'I'll kill you, I'll fuckin kill you.' I love you so much i'm gonna make a jacket outa yer ass."

also, Jenny Owen Youngs (many choice options here but):
"what the fuck was i thinking?"
posted by Soulbee at 8:23 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

This Will Not Win Him

Reason says,
I will win him with my eloquence.

Love says,
I will win him with my silence.

Soul says,
How can I ever win him
When all I have is already his?

He does not want, he does not worry,
He does not seek a sublime state of euphoria -
How then can I win him
With sweet wine or gold? . . .

He is not bound by the senses -
How then can I win him
With all the riches of China?

He is an angel,
Though he appears in the form of a man.
Even angels cannot fly in his presence -
How then can I win him
By assuming a heavenly form?

He flies on the wings of God,
His food is pure light -
How then can I win him
With a loaf of baked bread?

He is neither a merchant, nor a tradesman -
How then can I win him
With a plan of great profit?

He is not blind, nor easily fooled -
How then can I win him
By lying in bed as if gravely ill?

I will go mad, pull out my hair,
Grind my face in the dirt -
How will this win him?

He sees everything -
how can I ever fool him?

He is not a seeker of fame,
A prince addicted to the praise of poets -
How then can I win him
With flowing rhymes and poetic verses?

The glory of his unseen form
Fills the whole universe
How then can I win him
With a mere promise of paradise?

I may cover the earth with roses,
I may fill the ocean with tears,
I may shake the heavens with praises -
none of this will win him.

There is only one way to win him,
this Beloved of mine -

Become his.

-- Jalaluddin Rumi
posted by vers at 3:50 PM on January 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

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